Cultural Studies Workshop

Cultural Studies Workshop

As a set of varied and interdisciplinary approaches to the complexity of the contemporary world, cultural studies provide strategies and epistemological instruments that effectively delve into the established conventions and their creative renewal within a cultural paradigm in transition.

As Yuri Lotman famously put it, the complexity of cultures lies in the fact that any intersection of systems sharply increases the unpredictability of future movements. The collision of systems often produces a third, fundamentally new, phenomenon, which is not logically predictable. This ‘third’ state was usually interpreted as the positive, ‘edifying’ outcome of dialectic processes. Thus, to the accurate study of prevailing systems often corresponded an inadequate attention to ‘rejected’ and ‘interstitial’ states of affairs. As Hannah Arendt argued, these interstitial culturemes are usually unfolded by the conflict between generations or in the axiological hiatus which opens between consecutive ages. Looking at these events in a complex way leads to minimize the relevance of traditional binaries, which are conventionally defined by descriptors like after/before or pre-/post. A more fertile cross-pollination of the debated issues concerns the varied manifestations of this transitional condition in all types of cultural change and exchange: the function of technology in cultural transformations (e.g., the theoretical reflection on the passage from old to new media or the intercognitive moment in remediation), the emergence of intermediate or intermedial identities (e.g., feminine identity as experienced in the Victorian transition from True Womanhood to the New Woman, the new but not yet canonized types of parenting in the postmodern family based on the de-differentiation of parental and gender roles, the uncharted territory between migrancy and acceptable citizenship within the contemporary global diaspora).

In their constant effort at reducing entropy, cultures inevitably obfuscate what the prevailing system discards as ateleological, oppositive or even (self-)destructive forces, which nonetheless resist obliteration and strenuously re-emerge in cultural discourse. Under this category one may list such heterogeneous phenomena as the subaltern resistance to genocide and indigenocide; post-human theories and practices from the radical interpretations of Hobbes to the modern civilization of clones and drones; nihilism in all its nuances and manifestations (the romantic cupio dissolvi; post-Darwinian ateleology; the post-Heideggerian reduction of Being to Language); the destructive and self-destructive drive of those who have suffered ontic, ontological, psychic, sexual, post-war traumas or have interiorized complex matrices of trauma.

Together with the diasporic flux of peoples across borders and cultures, a phenomenon which in this conjuncture has assumed nearly biblical proportions, these issues enhance an incessant dialectics between mobility and constraint that disturbs political conventions as well as cultural codes of behaviour. A noteworthy consequence of this process is the necessity to re-consider our network of negotiations concerning kinship arrangements, identity, rules of communal interaction, as well as the effectiveness of the metalanguages and vocabularies we routinely implement as agents in the cultural process.

We welcome proposals on topics which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. ‘No longer’, Not Yet’: The Complexity of Cultural Transition. ‘The Highest Purpose Is To Have no Purpose at All’: The Destructive and Ateleological Penchant in Culture. Cultural and Media Representations of Parenting and Education: New Complexities in the Social Fabric. Simple, Very Simple, Far Too Complex: The Teaching of Culture in Schools and Universities. The Ecosystem as Complex Adaptive Mechanism across Nature and Culture: Critical and Theoretical Reflections.
  2. Complex and Creative Spaces: Hyperworlds, Never-Never Lands, Global Ecumene and Imaginary Geographies. Borders and Mobilities, Dislocation and Diaspora, Subaltern Spaces, Transnational Cultural Flows. Popular Creativity Online, Media and Technology. Songs Make Something Happen: How Popular Creativity Affected Politics and Society. The Post-Human Imaginary.
  3. Conventionally at Work: Face Rhetoric, Images, Icons and Representations. Cultural Proximity and Shareability: Translatable and Untranslatable Conventions. Ontologies of Specularity: Mimicry, Copies, Stereotypes. Britishness and Beyond. LGBTQI Understandings of Conventionality.



Prof. Biancamaria Rizzardi (

Prof. Laura Giovannelli (

Dott. Fausto Ciompi (



Prof. Anna Enrichetta Soccio (